Beautiful Tempest Page 44

“I told you I know how to climb a mast,” she snapped.

“Just don’t do it again.”

She gave him a furious glare. “I want to see my friends!”

“Tell me about your family instead.”


“Was that an adamant no, or do you just need coaxing?”

“Don’t ask about them,” she said stiffly. “You hurt one of us, you hurt us all. They’re every one of them your enemy now, and I’m not going to tell you about your enemies.”

“Then I’ll tell you what I know. Your mother is an American. It was her family home in Connecticut where we first met. You have three brothers, but no sisters. Your father is so formidable that no single man can fight him and win, and five at once can’t even bring him down.”

She couldn’t help smirking. “He trained with the best. His brother Anthony is the only one who can last a little while in a ring with him.”

“Good to know.”

“Why? You expect to meet my uncle Tony?” She chuckled. “Actually, I don’t doubt you will. They’re very close, you know. Uncle Tony often sails with my father, especially when a Malory needs rescuing. And after they get your note, it’s very possible that the entire family will sail this time, and there are now too many Malorys to count. Consider yourself warned.”

“That might depend on what I wrote this time.”

“What did you write?”

“If you and I had a more agreeable relationship, I might tell you.” The look he gave her left no doubt that he was talking about bed sharing, and bright color shot up her cheeks, which prompted him to add, “Still not ready to seduce me to your terms?”

“You’d slit your own throat?”

He laughed and stood up to walk to his desk. “I’ll think about your request.”

Her temper snapped with that answer, shooting her to her feet. “I want to see my friends! You said I could!”

He paused and leaned back against the side of his desk. He seemed a little surprised that she’d shouted those demands, but she didn’t care. The silent treatment hadn’t gotten her anywhere.

“I’ve changed my mind about that,” he said thoughtfully. “You shouldn’t see them while they’re still injured.”

Still? Still?! She flew at him in a fury and avoided his hand when he reached for her. She got in one solid blow because he hadn’t even stood up straight to deal with her. But his confidence cost him. She got a whoosh out of him, a temporary loss of breath, before he flipped her about and put both of his arms around her to keep her from doing any more damage to him. And he was still leaning against the bloody desk!

It reminded her so much of their last voyage together. Every time she’d attacked him, she’d ended up like this, contained by his arms, helpless against his strength. But she was too furious to give up. Her brother had been hurt so much he wasn’t close to healed yet. Damon had to pay for that!

Then she heard by her ear in the softest whisper, “Don’t stop struggling, Jack. I like holding you.”

She stopped.

“Truly? How disappointing.”

But he didn’t release her! She slammed her head back hard, might have hit his chin. She found his legs next with the soles of her feet and pushed to propel herself away from him, but even that didn’t work! But it made him turn and set her on his desk. She got off one swing that missed before he moved in closer, between her legs, and wrapped his arms around her again, trapping hers beneath his.

“Better.” He looked down at her. “I can do this all night, you know. Are you sure you want to?”

She answered by knocking her forehead against his upper chest.

“Splendid. Shall we make it even more interesting while we fight?”

He wasn’t fighting, he was just holding her. And that meant he was going to kiss her. Warned, she was able to evade his mouth, but that didn’t stop him from rubbing his cheek against hers, kissing her neck, licking her ear. She shivered, tried to slide her backside off the desk, but that just rubbed her against him. Oh, God, she wanted him, felt her body come alive with how much she did. It was beyond believable, but it was still happening. And he somehow knew it. But it changed nothing. She’d rather die than give in to those feelings for him.

He was holding her so close to him that the only way she could avoid his lips was to press her cheek to his chest. The compelling embrace was too intimate for her. She had a feeling he’d win if she looked at him. That was the trouble with his face, it was so handsome, it mesmerized her and made her forget, however briefly, she was at war with him. When that happened, it was too easy for him to kiss her, and far, far too easy for her to kiss him back.

She was still turning her head from side to side to avoid getting kissed. Such a slow, gentle little war that wasn’t at all satisfying other than that she was still winning it. She tried to get her arms out from under his until she realized her hands could touch the sides of his back. She dug her nails in so hard she probably poked holes in his shirt. Still he didn’t release her, but he picked her up and tossed her on the bed. Before she could get out of the way, he was on top of her.

It happened, of course it would. He easily captured her mouth with the weight of his body holding her down. She still struggled, but the weak attempt ended the moment she felt one of his hands moving over her, softly on her neck, shoulder, down her arm. Such a simple caress, and yet she reacted as if it were torrid. Heat that had nothing to do with blushing permeated her whole body. She was enjoying herself! But before she succumbed completely, she needed to turn this around and take the lead so she could persuade him to let her see Jeremy. She should have done this long ago. Both Damon and Jeremy had suggested it!

She wrapped her arms around his neck and started kissing him passionately. She felt the intensity of his passion rise, too, as he deepened his kisses, teasing her with his tongue, exciting her beyond her wildest imagining. Persuasion had never felt so good, so she wasn’t surprised when a moan of pleasure escaped her lips. He pulled back, his turquoise eyes lambent with desire, gazing down at her.

“Damon?” she said breathlessly.

He put his brow to hers and sighed. “It would be too easy to take advantage of you, which is why I won’t. When you want me, really want me, I’m yours. But we know that hasn’t happened yet. So for now, tell me what brought on the need to hurt me again? You’re worried because your brother is still recovering from his injuries?”

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